April’s year-over-year inflation figures released Wednesday, at 8.3%, are just the latest sign that Democrats will face a challenging midterm election, experts say, in which Democrats are likely to win. economic problems dominate the polls.
“The Republicans certainly have a vacancy,” James Wallner, a senior fellow on government at the R Street Institute, told Fox News of the inflation figures. “You can clearly see it in the nature of their rhetoric and the emphasis they place on attacks on the Biden administration for…record inflation, at least in the last four decades.”
The latest figures come after several months of inflation reaching 40-year highs, despite claims from the White House early last year that price increases would only be temporary.
The month-on-month inflation rate between March and April was 0.3%. That number is above expectations but below the rate seen in other recent months. Committee for Responsible Federal Budget Policy Director Marc Goldwein said he believes the reason for the low number is declining auto and energy prices, but “inflation in most other categories.” .
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Goldwein also told Fox News on Tuesday that he expects “ebbs and flows” in inflation in the coming months, at least receding from recent highs as the United States moves away from the pandemic. What is not clear, he said, is whether it will return to about 2.5% a year or settle at a higher level, and how long that process will take.
“The two main initial drivers of inflation are pretty much over,” he said, referring to low interest rates and unspent COVID-19 relief money. “So the question now is how much of their lagged effects are going to continue: It takes a while for inflation to feed into rent and health care costs… And then how long do they trigger a chain of events that are going to cause continued inflationary pressures?” . ?”
“My base case is that we’re going to see high inflation until 2024 or so, at which point we’ll have learned if we can control inflation without causing a recession,” Goldwein said.
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Republicans aim to relentlessly hammer Democrats on kitchen table issues, including crime and education. But as pervasive as inflation is, affecting nearly every American every day, that may be the ultimate issue for Republican congressional campaigns.
“Joe Biden and the Senate Democrats caused this inflation crisis which is a massive tax increase for all American families. Voters are outright rejecting the Democrats’ agenda and will make Democrats pay at the polls in November,” said the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) spokesperson. Chris Hartline told Fox News.
The Democratic Senate Campaign Committee did not respond to a request for comment for this story.
On Tuesday, President Biden also addressed inflation in remarks at the White House, arguing that Republicans bring no real plan to the table while criticizing the “ultra-MAGA” political platform of Sen. Rick Scott, R-Florida.
“My plan is to lower … everyday costs for working families and reduce the deficit by asking major corporations and the wealthiest Americans to stay out of price gouging and pay their fair share in taxes,” Biden said. .
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“My plan is already underway,” he added. “I directed the world and other countries to join us in coordinating the largest release of oil from our reserves of any country in history: 240 million barrels to boost global supply.”
Wallner, the lead researcher at R Street, said the GOP’s attacks on Biden and Democrats on inflation “are hollow” for what he says is an inflation crisis “a decade or more in the making” perpetuated by both parties. . But, he added, that is unlikely to matter to voters, who will blame the party in power.
“The Democrats didn’t look too good before this in the midterm elections and this is just one more thing they have to deal with,” Wallner added. “If there was no inflation, the Democrats would still have a bad night. But the fact that we have inflation means I think they’re probably going to have just as bad a night, if not worse.”
Meanwhile, Democrats are taking advantage of the long-awaited Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade as a core motivator ahead of the midterms. Democrats, including Biden, are already raising funds for the abortion issue.
But it’s not clear whether grassroots passion for the social issue can overcome the problems inflation creates for Democrats, according to the director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, Larry Sabato.
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“Inflation affects everyone day by day. We are all affected, we all think about it,” Sabato previously told Fox News Digital. “For most people, abortion is kind of a theoretical concept, especially if you’re older. It’s not something you focus on.”
On the plus side, Goldwein said, the Federal Reserve is moving to raise interest rates and from the recent declines in stock prices, it looks like the market is taking it seriously.
But, he added, Biden is not doing enough politically to control inflation.
“They continue to issue executive orders that increase the deficit, like extending the student loan pause and debt forgiveness and things like that,” Goldwein said. “There has to be some kind of change in fiscal policy to focus a little more on deficit reduction, especially in the health care space where the government basically already sets prices.”